Global terrorism fatalities up 30%
Written by Deborah Ritchie
Over the last 12 months, global fatalities from acts of terrorism have risen 30% compared to the previous five year average, according to a new security monitoring service from global risk analytics company Maplecroft, which also identifies China, Egypt, Kenya and Libya as seeing the most significant increases in the risk of terrorist attacks.
The Maplecroft Terrorism and Security Dashboard (MTSD) recorded 18,668 fatalities in the 12 months prior to 1 July, up 29.3% from an annual average of 14,433 for the previous five years. Over the same period the MTSD recorded 9,471 attacks at an average of 26 a day, down from a five year average of 10,468, revealing that terrorist methods have become increasingly deadly over the last year.
The MTSD classifies 12 countries as ‘extreme risk,’ many of which are blighted by high levels of instability and weak governance. These include: Iraq (most at risk), Afghanistan (2nd), Pakistan (3rd), Somalia (4th), Yemen (6th), Syria (7th), Lebanon (9th) and Libya (10th). However, of particular concern for investors, the important growth economies of Nigeria (5th), the Philippines (8th), Colombia (11th) and Kenya (12th) also feature in the category.
Rising risks and economic costs in China, Egypt, Kenya and Libya
“Libya, Kenya and Egypt are among a handful of countries to witness a significant increase in risk in the MTSD and investor confidence in key sectors, including tourism and oil and gas, has been hurt,” states Jordan Perry, a Principal Political Risk Analyst at Maplecroft. “When faced with rising security costs and decreasing safety for their personnel, companies can, and do, reconsider their country-level commitments.”
With terrorism incidents in Libya (10th) doubling in the last year, militia violence is having a toxic impact on the country’s economy, especially its crucial oil sector which has all but ground to a halt following blockades of the country’s main oil ports by rebel militias and divestment by multinational hydrocarbon companies. The flow of militants and weapons from Libya has also increased the risk of terrorism in Egypt (17th and ‘high risk’). Attacks in the Sinai Peninsula and Cairo reduced tourist numbers by 20% in May compared to the same month last year, while frequent bombings of the gas pipeline in North Sinai have impacted exports and government revenues.
Tourism in Kenya (12th), which accounts for roughly 12.5% of GDP, has also been hard hit, due to the increasing frequency and intensity of terrorism attacks by Somali based Islamic militant group al Shabaab. June 2014 represented the bloodiest month since the Westgate shopping mall attack on 21 September 2013, with 69 fatalities and at least 7 wounded. A single al Shabaab attack on Mpeketoni village, in Lamu County on 15 June was responsible for 48 of these deaths. Despite the deteriorating security situation, Kenya’s strong showing at its US$2 billion debut Eurobond in June 2014 highlights continued investor interest in the country.
The MTSD also reveals that attacks are on the rise in China (32nd and ‘medium risk’), many of which have targeted transportation hubs. Fatalities in 2014 have reached 76, compared to 16 over the first six months of 2013. The economic impacts of terrorism are so far negligible, but as China pushes for unconventional hydrocarbon development, foreign companies are likely to be involved in shale gas/oil exploration in the restive hydrocarbon rich western Xinjiang province, the frontline of Han-Uyghur tension. Increased repression in the region means the security situation is likely to worsen.
Terrorism in Nigeria world’s deadliest, Iraq endures most attacks
Iraq, rated as the highest risk country in the MTSD, recorded more than 3 times as many acts of terrorism as Pakistan (which had the second highest number of incidents) – with 3,158 acts of terrorism, resulting in 5,929 fatalities, an increase of 2,188 deaths on the previous year. The deteriorating security situation in Iraq underscores the government’s inability to combat the militant group Islamic State – formerly known as ISIS, which now controls vital oil and gas infrastructure, while threatening other key assets across northern Iraq.
An intensifying campaign of violence by Islamic militant group Boko Haram has seen Nigeria (5th) record by far the highest number of fatalities per attack, reflecting the intensity of the violence there. The country has been host to 146 reported attacks in the period 01 July 2013 to 30 June 2014, resulting in 3,477 killed – an average of 24 people killed per attack, compared to 2 deaths per attack in Iraq. The increased capacity of Boko Haram – as illustrated by attacks on the key centres of Abuja and Lagos in June 2014 – is likely to lead to a further loss of investor confidence in Nigeria’s ability to respond to security risks in the country.
“The dynamic nature of terrorism means individual events are impossible to predict” states Maplecroft CEO Alyson Warhurst. “However, up-to-date global intelligence on the intensity, frequency, precise location and type of attacks can help organisations to make informed decisions relating to market entry, security measures for in-country operations, duty of care obligations, supply chain continuity and risk pricing.”
The MTSD is an interactive mapping platform, which logs, analyses and plots all reported incidents of terrorism, piracy, political violence and human rights abuses by security forces down to 100m² worldwide. It draws on Maplecroft’s seven years of global data to reveal terrorism and security trends across 197 countries.